Chapter View

What Has Gone Before

The Great Escape

Quo Vadis?

This Is A Plan?

A Disaster Beyond Your Imagination

A Contemplative Hostage

Rescue Attempt

It's A Wrestling Show, Right?

It’s No Live Sex Show – Thankfully

Dude, Where’s My Lifeboat?

Midget Fight!

Women and Children First – Midgets Last

Quo Vadis?

(Lyle Tallman, aka the Red Midget, aka the Hacker’s henchman, sits in the dark. Several small monitors are stacked up on a makeshift desk, giving off the only illumination in the space. Lyle sits in a large office chair, his smallish body engulfed by the leather monstrosity. The light of the monitors doesn’t show any other detail – he could be sitting in a space as large as a cargo bay or as small as a cabin.

Four of the monitors are tied into the CSWA’s production – he sees everything the cameras see – multiple angles of High Flyer and Troy Douglas as they compete in the ring. Another set of four monitors are cameras he controls – cameras set up to monitor the crowd and the CSWA staff that isn’t on-camera, or so they think. Another set of monitors show him what his security forces sees, or more accurately what the Hacker’s security sees – the bridge, the hallways as they patrol, the empty cabin that previously held Hornet, Poison Ivy and Teri Melton for his boss’s amusement. The final set of monitors is front-and-center. They show different angles from the Presidential Suite. Lyle has been both repulsed and strangely attracted to the pornographic goings-on between Thomas and Hortense. Watching Thomas reluctantly consummate his marriage has been like watching a train wreck – grotesque, hideous and full of ravaged flesh, but still you can’t take your eyes away from the spectacle.

As Hortense tries to cajole Thomas into another round – the woman is insatiable, while the CSWA’s owner, president and commissioner still looks like he’s going to be sick – Red turns his attention to the walkie-talkie in the chair with him.

RED: Report.

GUARD #1: No sign of the fugitives on the upper deck, over.

RED: Bridge?

GUARD #2: No one has attempted to gain the bridge, sir. Over.

RED: Any sign of them at the Presidential Suite?

(No response.)

RED: Presidential Suite report. Any sign of the escapees?

GUARD #3: No sir. (pause) Over.

RED: Alright, hold for instructions. What about below decks?

GUARD #4: No sir, no sign from either patrol. Over.

RED: Then where the hell are they? They can’t have gone overboard. Report in again in ten minutes, or as soon as you find something.

(Overboard? That would solve almost all our problems. But I don’t seriously believe they’d do it. Not when they have the chance to stick their noses where they don’t belong.)

RED: Crowd control? Any problems?

GUARD #5: Not at all, sir. They were a little uptight to begin with, but once they got seated and started watching the show they settled in.

(Amazing how you can turn the lives of hundreds upside down – but give them a little entertainment and they’re satisfied for a time. And by the end of the show, it wouldn’t matter anyway, hopefully. Thomas couldn’t last much longer. And even he did, there were backup plans. But it would be best not to have to deal with an angry, frightened mob on top of trying to keep dozens of CSWA employees in check. But whatever happens, happens.)

(Maybe it’s time to try another tack. Red hits a switch that allows him to hear what’s going on in the Presidential Suite, as well as speak to its occupants.)

HORTENSE: You about ready to go again, sweetie?

THOMAS: I don’t think I can, love. You’ve worn me out.

HORTENSE: Nonsense, lover. I’m sure I can help you rise to the occasion again.

THOMAS: Oh good Lord…

RED (over speakers): I thought you two lovebirds might need a little help down there. I know you aren’t as young as you used to be, Steve, but we all know men are ‘encouraged’ by visual stimuli.

(Red hits a few buttons to make the taped event of Thomas and Hortense consummation play through the television in their bedroom. If committing the act alone didn’t break him, maybe having to watch it will. )

THOMAS: STOP IT! Stop it right now, Lyle!

HORTENSE: It’s alright, Shug. It’s nothing to be ashamed of since we’re married folk. What we do in the privacy of our own bedroom is up to us… even if there is a perverted little person watching.

RED: All you have to do is sign the papers, Steve.

(Thomas stands up from the bed, thankfully covered by his robe. He stares directly into one of the cameras on the ceiling.)

THOMAS: There’s not a chance in hell I’m signing my company over to you and your ‘boss,’ no matter how long you think you can keep me in here.

HORTENSE: Us, Shug, us. That’s tellin’ him!

(Thomas pulls at the television, finally pulling it out of its seat on the wall and almost dropping it on his foot.)

RED: Oh well, I guess that means we’ll just have to try a more direct approach. (He hits a button and the door unlocks.) Guards, I think it’s time to help Mr. Thomas settle down.